Can You Get Braces Just for Your Top or Bottom Teeth?
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Table of Contents
- How Braces Help
- Recommended Approach
- Twice the Braces
- Which Is More Popular?
If you wore braces early in life, you likely had metal brackets and wires on both your top and bottom teeth. As you grew up, your teeth may have started to shift slightly out of place, which is very common. If you start to think about braces again, you may assume you have to get brackets on all your teeth.
Adult braces are different than children’s orthodontia. Adults often need to wear braces longer, but they might also benefit from different types of braces.
Adults have different alignment problems than children, whose jaws are still growing. So, adults are good candidates for getting braces on just one jaw, either the top or the bottom.
You might opt for braces on either the top or the bottom, without getting braces for both jaws, because you only have a few misaligned teeth in one location. However, this approach may not necessarily be faster or less expensive. There might be some underlying dental alignment problems that could benefit from having braces on both jaws.
More than beauty: how braces help your bite.
A healthy, beautiful smile exposes all of your central and lateral upper incisors, beauty experts say. The rest of your teeth stay covered by your lips when you smile. Shouldn't you focus your braces on the parts of your teeth others can see?
It's critical to remember that your teeth aren't beauty accessories. You also use those teeth for tasks such as:
Your teeth don't work in isolation. Upper and lower sets come together to form your bite, and even tiny adjustments can have big repercussions.
Adjust just one part of your mouth, and your front and back teeth could come together with excessive force, experts say. You could chip or crack your teeth each time the set comes together. You could also exert too much pressure on your bone and gums.
Conversely, changing just one part of your bite could stop your teeth from meeting at all. A big gap could make chewing impossible, and it could put excess strain on your muscles and tendons.
Do experts recommend this approach?
Dental professionals are concerned with cosmetic factors. They want your smile to look as beautiful as possible. But they are also concerned with mouth mechanics and overall health. You might notice that only one part of your teeth looks crooked or unusual. A dental professional might see something very different.
Some dentists say single-arch braces are appropriate for minor tooth movement, including:
- Mild overbites.
- Overlapping teeth.
- Minor crowding.
- Tiny spaces between teeth.
But other experts, including aligner companies like Byte, don't offer this form of treatment. Teeth should be adjusted in unison, they say, and it's just too risky to treat some teeth while leaving the others untouched.
Will you save money?
Consumers often think of dental treatments as packages. If you cut the needed therapy in half by treating one set of teeth and not the other, you should save money, right? Experts don't always agree.
To adjust your smile, dental professionals must:
Assess Your Teeth
Create A Plan
Supervise The Moves
These same steps apply whether you're moving one set of teeth or both. If you're hoping to skip movement on one arch to save a chunk of money, you might be disappointed.
Orthodontists say, for example, that braces on one arch can cost about $5,000 upfront, while full braces cost about $6,500 upfront.
Twice the braces.
You want to improve your smile, but you want to save money. And you want to ease pain. There are plenty of things you can do to meet your goals without putting your health and your bite at risk.
If you're considering single-arch braces due to these common concerns, it's time to think again.
Your smile showcases your beauty. But your teeth are critical to your health.
Don't let misconceptions keep you from the care you need. Ask questions and do your homework to ensure that you get the treatment that's right for your mouth and your health.
Are braces on the top or bottom teeth more popular?
Ultimately, your orthodontic needs are unique. Your dentist will be able to put braces on just the row of teeth that needs proper alignment, which might be either your top or bottom teeth. You may wonder, however, if you are unique in where you need orthodontics.
One of the most common concerns is the “social six,” or the top six front teeth. These are the most visible teeth in the average smile. Many people may be concerned that these are properly aligned, while they are less concerned with slight imperfections in their bottom or back teeth.
The most common type of dental malocclusion is Class I, which is when the top teeth slightly overlap the bottom teeth a bit too far. If you want this corrected, your dentist will put braces just on your top teeth. Class II malocclusions also mostly involve the upper teeth, although underbites and different jaw sizes can change how your orthodontist prescribes braces.
Most misalignments or dental concerns involve the top teeth. Therefore, many people who seek orthodontics treatment are concerned about their top teeth more than their bottom teeth. However, if you have misaligned bottom teeth, even if these are less visible, it can be better for your overall oral health to get braces on that row as well.
Smile Science: The Anatomy of a Smile. (September 2011). Portland Monthly.
Does Your Child Really Need Braces? Reader’s Digest Canada.
Is Single Arch Treatment Good for Your Patients? (October 2017). Orca Dental.
Frequently Asked Questions. Byte.
Orthodontic Treatment Costs. Impression Orthodontics.